Rooney’s career comes full circle as Man Utd face Fenerbahce
Rooney to relive Fenerbahce hat-trick heroics?
Just over 12 years ago Wayne Rooney pulled on the famous red jersey of Manchester United for the first time, stepping out onto the Old Trafford pitch for his debut as a Red Devil. The opposition? Fenerbahce.
It was certainly a night to remember, as the then most expensive teenage transfer in football history had a point to prove and a price tag of around £27m to justify. Rooney’s reply to upset Evertonians and tabloid critics? A heroic Champions League hat-trick as United crushed the Istanbul outfit 6-2 on the night.
Watch Rooney’s famous first Man Utd hat-trick and Old Trafford bow below:
Fast-forward as Man Utd (4/7 favourites) prepare to face Fenerbahce again, and both Rooney’s career and the club have come full circle. Now Red Devils skipper and closing in on Bobby Charlton’s all-time top scorer record, Rooney, far from the fresh-faced talent of 12 years ago, has been dropped for both club and country.
United no longer have the enigmatic Sir Alex Ferguson on the throne, and are on their third manager in four years with old foe Jose Mourinho at the helm. The very same ‘Special One’ who tried to sign Rooney for Chelsea.
Now the Portuguese must guide the Premier League giants to success, but not in the elite Champions League, as it is second rung competition the Europa League that beckons instead.
Can Rooney, who has something to prove yet again in the winter of his career rather than spring, and the Red Devils, relive former glories against their guests?
Former golden boy in fight for Three Lions place
England expected and all eyes were trained on Rooney, with hopes pinned on a teenager to bring excitement to European adventures on a chilly autumn evening.
That sentence may sound mighty familiar, but over a decade on, and Rooney (a superb 6/4 with Coral to strike anytime) is fighting to keep both his England and Man Utd careers alive.
The cameras will still be clicking away on Thursday, but Mourinho and the Three Lions’ focus are slowly shifting onto another Man Utd teenager in Marcus Rashford. Though, as the youngster started ahead of Rooney against Liverpool, the captain has a chance to remind of his scoring talents against the Turkish team.
Rooney’s career path so far seems to have followed a film star trajectory – all the way from his fairytale early rise at Everton to global superstardom and a record transfer fee (for a player under 20) with fierce rivals Man Utd, up until his recent woes.
The script is set then, for a Rooney repeat or something close, as England’s leading scorer is getting most of his game time midweek now and is a fantastic 5/1 to draw first blood on Thursday.
With Harry Kane, Rashford, Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge all breathing down his neck at international level and Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading Mourinho’s line, it’s a far cry from the days when Rooney was the name on everyone’s lips.
Rooney odds awesome value for Thursday fixture
If you relived a slice of Man Utd football history in the video above, the crackling and expectant Old Trafford atmosphere in the background should have whetted punters’ appetites for some Europa League punts.
Roaming Rooney, bullish and electric, struck his first thunderbolt from outside the area, inducing the famous sliding knees celebration as he marked his Man Utd arrival.
As his second long distance goal rifled into the bottom left hand corner, giving goalie Rustu no chance, spectators knew it was Rooney’s night.
Finally, the cherry on the cake came in the form of a curling free-kick, cracked in with confidence and summing up why Rooney was so exciting.
For a repeat, customers can back Rooney odds of 33/1 for another Fenerbahce hat-trick. Incredible value if we do say so ourselves. Or, simply take a 7/2 price for the Man Utd marksman to outscore the opposition, as he did back in 2004.
Now, as a maturer Rooney revisits the fairytale fixture once again, there could be a starting spot against Mourinho’s former club Chelsea. England boss Gareth Southgate may also do so against auld enemy Scotland, if he can prove he has the goals in him. How’s that for full circle?
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